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   Chapter 29 Barbie on the shrimp

The Story of the Mimosa By Paul Kater Characters: 10680

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:04


Time had gone by in Bardolino, Italy. So had the headache and the news of the Giro d'Italia. Maurizio had done his mail-round for the day. His letter-bag was empty and as wet as he was, because of the surprising summer rain that suddenly had appeared out of seemingly nowhere. All his shouting at the gods and madonnas that everyone claimed to live overhead had not done anything to make the rain lessen. That only happened as he pedalled his bike into his street, his house in sight.

Wet and tired the postman put his bicycle in the shed next to the six-wheeled, headless mannequin, and went inside to shower and change clothes. He had barely reappeared from his bedroom, feeling a lot better and drier, when someone pounded on the front door of his humble abode. "Calma, calma, leave the door in the house, si!" he yelled as he went to open it.

On the soaking wet doormat stood Signora Ribaldi, almost five foot tall and one hundred and sixty pounds of anger. "You brought me nothing today!" she cried out, raising and shaking her hands to the small deck that hung over the door to keep people dry when it rained. "Nothing!"

"Si, that can be, signora. If no one sends you mail I have nothing to bring you, capice? Understand?"

"Why did nobody then send me mail?" signora Ribaldi wanted to know as she folded her hands over her mighty bosom, beggingly looking at the postman for a revelation.

Maurizio Blunt knew he was near dangerous water. Anything he said would be remembered and used against him at any given moment, probably when he least expected it. "Maybe the postmaster knows, " he decided what his answer would be. He did not particularly like the postmaster, so let him deal with this female fury.

"Yes, yes, he is the postmaster, " signora Ribaldi nodded, looking relieved as if he had told her the secret to eternal youth. "A Master, not a lowly postal clerk." With that she turned around and wobbled off into the street and towards the post office.

Maurizio sighed and closed the door behind him. He had planned to have dinner at Francesco's. It was a good restaurant, run by the son of the brother-in-law of an aunt of the former husband of his sister who after her divorce had run off to Parma to marry a man who did well in ham, so Francesco was practically family. And that in turn usually had a positive influence on the bill.

"Maurizio!" Francesco greeted the postman.

"Francesco!" Maurizio greeted the restaurant owner.

"You are here again!" Francesco said loudly, although with less enthusiasm, which told Maurizio to perhaps cut down on the visits a little bit from now on.

"Yes, but I only came to say hello, " Maurizio carefully said, clapping the man on the shoulder a few times.

"Oh, no, " Fiammetta called from out back. She was Francesco's wife, ever the good host and never would allow anyone to leave without something to eat. This kind of fact was good to know. "Maurizio!" She came forward and hugged the postman. "You need to sit down and eat. Francesco, bring him the piatto del giorno, the dish of the day. Maurizio, you will so much like it; it is pasta and anti-pasto and gamberetto with a wine sauce and a wonderful chilled Chia

d other things with which he attempted to hide the metal suit. Then, dirty but exhiliarated over his find, he clambered up the slippery slope and went home for a shower and a good night of sleep which would bring him many wild dreams of the things the strange metal suit could bring him...

***

Early the next morning there was pounding on Maurizio's house's front door. In a daze, as this was his day off, the postman staggered to the door while he wrapped his housecoat around him. "What do you want?" he said as he opened the door. "Che cosa vuoi?"

"Buon giorno, Maurizio, " said Lombardo Lombardino, one of Bardolino's good for nothing fishermen who had helped to empty the lake. "We found something at the foot of the hill."

Immediately Maurizio was wide awake and his instincts screamed at him on full alert. Not the suit!

"It looks like a big metal suit, " Lombardo continued.

Oh no! If only they left it there!

"It was a lot of work, but we got it up the hill on a cart and we brought it here."

Maurizio felt his heart fall down to the soles of his feet, broken so each part would have its own leg to tumble into.

"And we thought you might be interested in it as you collect more of that old junk and nobody else has any use for it."

The postman's broken heart jumped back to where it belonged, joined itself and then Maurizio had to fight the urge to hug Lombardo. "Where is it?" he casually asked instead as his heart tried to pound itself out of his ribcage.

"Over there, on the cart in front of your shed, " Lombardo pointed. "If you want it we'll leave the cart so you can take it in. I want the cart back by the evening though, capice?"

Maurizio's feet wanted to dance for luck and happiness. "I'll try to get the thing unloaded by then. Grazie, amici."

"Prego, " the men at the door said and then shuffled off in various directions.

Maurizio closed the door, walked into the living room and stuck his sleeve in his mouth so that it smothered most of the outburst of joy as he performed a personal variation on the Funky Chicken, even when that dance had not been invented yet.

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